Okay. Well… What happened here may be one of the most surprising experiences in all my years of developing recipes.
For years I have been doing my best to ignore those annoying “savory oats” people who not only eat oats for breakfast, but also for dinner. Well, I could ignore them no longer and decided to start experimenting with savory oats recipes (this will not be the last one you see this week!).
So as I started thinking about how to use oats in savory recipes, I realized that rolled oats release a lot of starch as they cook, which is exactly what makes risotto so great, and if you followed the same procedure of slowly adding broth and stirring, you might end up with something of a similar texture as risotto. Maybe??
I’ve made a few risottos in my day and they are 1) slow, 2) unhealthy, 3) difficult, but 4) incredibly delicious.
Oats would solve all the “problems” of risotto. They are less finicky, much healthier than white arborio (risotto) rice, AND oats cook to the right texture so quickly that you can literally make this creamy risotto in under 15 minutes from start to finish.
For those of you familiar, the process is identical. You slowly stir veg broth into a base of oats, celery, and red onion, wait until it absorbs, and repeat. What you end up with (in 10 minutes, not 45) is an impossibly creamy, flowing, starchy dish with amazing savory flavors.
For this one, I’ve thrown in some fresh green peas and meaty caramelized mushrooms, but you could use any risotto add-ins you want. What really makes this work is a little bit of tahini and nutritional yeast (you’ve been seeing those guys around here a lot lately!) to add a slightly creamy, cheesy component that brings this risotto to live.
Incredibly, it works. It all works so well! An oat risotto, who would have thought?!
Makes: 4 servings
- 4 stalks celery
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 12 oz peas (fresh or frozen)
- 8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
We’ll start by cooking the mushrooms separately, because the longer they cook, the better they will be. Slice about 10-12 crimini mushrooms fairly thin and add them to a skillet over medium heat with a generous splash of water. Allow them to cook down for 5-10 minutes while working on the other steps…
Finely chop the celery and onion and add them to a large skillet over medium heat with a splash of water and a dash of salt and pepper. Give them a few minutes to soften and turn translucent. Then add the 2 cups of rolled oats and slowly start folding in vegetable broth about a half a cup at a time, wait for it to absorb into the oats, and continue.
Returning to the mushrooms, after they have reduced significantly, drain the water and drizzle on a little soy sauce with a dash of garlic powder and black pepper. Let them continue cooking on medium-low until the liquid evaporates and they become all caramelized and delicious.
After 6-8 minutes, once the oats have absorbed 3+ cups of broth and the “risotto” has a flowing, lava-like consistency, add in about 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and 2 tablespoons of tahini and incorporate well. This adds a delicious cheesy flavor, but it will thicken things, so add a little more broth if needed.
Finally, fold in the peas (defrosted if using frozen) and the mushrooms (trust me, cooking them separately to build up those delicious flavors was definitely worth the effort!) and you’re done.